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Collective Compassion & FreeForm Funding

September 22, 2011

Tools, instruments, devices;  their value and utility depend entirely upon the hands and minds which yield them.  It always has, masters and bunglers.  In this age, we have before us a massive array of tools, a great sprawling social network, a ceaseless font of information, connection to and from remote parts of our world.  I understand and admit complicity in the fact that the intertubes are fast flowing with pictures of cats, but there is so much more power available beyond telling FaceBook about your latest favorite video or how horrible this Monday is or what you need for Farmville and MafiaWars.

There are vast resources growing to connect people of like minds and passions, to gather hard monetary support ~5 bucks at a time if that’s all you can spare~ for needs and desires and dreams of strangers attempting enormous good.  Just two examples in which I have participated are Chip-In and Kickstarter.  

Through FaceBook connections I’ve learned about heartbreaking situations, people at the end of their ropes and sliding fast, who need nothing more than a little money, but even that is as out of reach as the star they’re wishing on.  Their local friends are no better off, but when one makes a plea and it spreads out over the networks, it reaches an inestimable number of people.  And of that group, some will be moved enough to give just something.  And all those would-have-been funds ~the grande latte, lunch out, all those little impulse buys~ which on their own could never make a difference, become part of something significant and life-affirming.

Harley, desperate and afraid

My heart breaks for creatures who, through no fault or choice of their own, find themselves in frightening and hopeless places.  Harley, a 15-year-old marmalade tabby, found himself on death row in a “shelter,” terrified and sick.

Through one more internet-assisted miracle, someone wanted to adopt Harley, even if just to give him peace and love in his last days, a little dignity.  But she was far away.  Then there was someone who would get him out of the shelter!  But that costs something, and the trip to his new home would cost more, and a vet would need to be paid to help him.  A Chip-In was set up for Harley, yet not knowing what the medical expenses would be, the goal of $1500 was set, with the promise to return any unneeded funds, even if the best thing for him was a gentle crossing of the Rainbow Bridge.  That goal was met in 9 hours.  He was lifted to safety, put into loving arms, diagnosed, and easily treated for diabetes.  He is a changed cat and will go to a family who wants him, rather than the person who dumped him because he was getting old and needing help.Harley, relaxed and healthy

To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the last age, Harley would have spent this week, his final days, terrified, sick, and alone.  Now we have the power to connect people to needs and if everyone does just something, lives are saved and dreams come true.

When else in history could an artist with a dream raise funding from all over the planet?  To honor an excellent author and make something amazing, a few people decided to make a film, Troll Bridge, from the short story and telling the tale of Terry Pratchett’s Cohen the Barbarian.  They began gathering up like-minded professionals who would volunteer their talents, but there would be sets and costumes and travel and make-up and housing and food.  Enter Kickstarter, where projects set a goal and if they don’t reach it by the goal date, no money changes hands.  They blew it away and will use the overage for better stuff and more awesomeness in the film.  I never would have known without Twitter and now I’ve helped bring it to the screen.  Anyone with faith in an idea can put it out there and ask.  If enough people, any people anywhere, want to see it, they can make it happen.

Make it happen; reaching out and giving back, we can make wondrous things happen.

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